Bid to end MoD's gag on the whistle-blower linked to Stakeknife
A 17-year-old Ministry of Defence gagging order on military whistle-blower Martin Ingram is being kept in place despite pleas from victims of the Troubles.
Ingram, also known as Ian Hurst, is a former soldier who claims to have served in various intelligence divisions in Northern Ireland during the 1980s.
He later went public making a number of claims, most notably on the activities of 'Stakeknife', who he has alleged was one of Britain's top agents within the IRA.
Stakeknife has been claimed to be Freddie Scappaticci.
Mr Scappaticci has consistently denied the allegation.
The Ministry of Defence obtained a court order in 1999 preventing Ingram from speaking out. The Sunday Times reported yesterday that the MoD has refused to lift this gag as families of 15 of Stakeknife's alleged victims sue the British Government for conspiracy to murder and alleged collusion.
These families approached the MoD to ask whether they could speak to Ingram.
But the Sunday Times reported that senior government lawyers made it clear that this would not be possible as Ingram has the ability to "disclose sensitive information".
Belfast lawyer Kevin Winters - who represents the families of Caroline Moreland, a mother-of-three who was murdered by the IRA in 1994, and Frank Hegarty, who was shot in the back of the head in 1986 - said he plans to apply to the courts in an attempt to "lift the draconian order".
"These families need closure," Mr Winters told the Sunday Times.
"They need to try and find out what the British state knew about Stakeknife.
"We want people like Martin Ingram to help, and we will be asking the court in Belfast for directions on this matter."
Jon Boutcher, the Chief Constable of Bedfordshire, was appointed to lead an investigation into the allegations about Stakeknife in June.
The investigation, codenamed Operation Kenova, is also examining the activities of current and former police officers, members of the army and MI5, and former members of the IRA.